Delta-8 THC is an intoxicating cannabinoid naturally present in hemp and considered semi-synthetic when manually converted from hemp-derived CBD. It isn’t THC or CBD but finds itself sitting somewhere between the two.
Delta-8 is also a psychoactive compound. It induces euphoric effects similar to delta-9 THC but with milder physical and mental sensations. These effects can help with anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.
Delta-8’s legality is questionable, as is its safety. The lack of regulatory oversight and often sketchy lab reports leave consumers at risk of being guinea pigs for this new craze. However, despite the concerns, hemp delta-8 THC products are legally available across many parts of the US.
Our team of product experts tested and reviewed over 70 different hemp-derived delta-8 THC products over the last year – ranging between vapes, edibles, dabs, and flower – to measure the intensity of a delta-8 high compared to the high you get from marijuana. In our experience, delta-8 is an intoxicating compound capable of getting you seriously high. It also causes physical and mental impairment, but not on the same level as delta-9 (marijuana).
In addition to our own independent testing, we polled the delta-8 community about the effects they experienced. (Read more on that below).
Is delta-8 less intense than delta-9?
Yes, from the delta-8 products we’ve tried and seeing anecdotal stories from users around the world, delta-8 effects are less intense than delta-9 when taken in similar quantities.
For example, if you take 50mg of delta-8 edibles and then take 50mg of delta-9 edibles, the delta-9 high feels double the potency. If you increase the delta-8 dosage to 100mg, it replicates a 50mg delta-9 high.
We surveyed a nice chunk of delta-8 users and asked them if they believed delta-8 was less intense, more intense, or the same intensity of delta-9.
The results are as follows:
Delta-8 is less intense than delta-9: 52%
It’s about the same intensity: 42%
Delta-8 is more intense than delta-9: 6%
What does the delta-8 high feel like?
Similar to your average delta-9 THC product, the high from a CBD delta-8 product varies in strength and potency depending on the consumption method, amount consumed, and tolerance.
The only way to know delta-8 is to try delta-8, and if you don’t like one product, try again…not every delta-8 company is created equal. The same dose of a delta-8 edible from one brand compared to an identical dose from another might have totally different effects.
Common delta-8 THC effects you can expect to feel:
Calming of the mind
Increased focus and drive
Subdued body aches and pain
Sleep enhancement (with Indica strains)
If we break down the effects of an average delta-8 high, genuine relaxation is something you can expect. As someone who struggles with anxiety, delta-8, when dosed correctly, is a true relief from everyday stresses that plague an anxious mind.
For example, I’ve tested delta-8 flower and edibles from companies such as Hometown Hero and 3Chi. They not only provide a mental calm but also uplift my spirits and boost motivation.
However, since delta-8 is psychoactive and intoxicating, I don’t agree with the people who say it’s a paranoia-free substance. If someone doesn’t know their tolerance and starts out with a high dose, a panic attack can ensue.
My mother, who isn’t a frequent cannabis user by any means but someone who has enjoyed edibles a handful of times, one night asked me if I had anything to help her sleep.
I recently tested MoonWLKR’s delta-8 gummies and found them pretty effective for putting me to bed, I asked her if she’d be interested and later she took two gummies. The next day she described what she said was the worst night of her life. She experienced a body paralyzing high that had her crawling on the floor to the bathroom, almost dialing 9-1-1 on herself. This isn’t me exaggerating for a story; this was her genuine experience. I took 100mg of that edible and it put me to sleep. She took 50mg and lost her legs for a few hours. These products aren’t created equal.
When dosing, start low and go slow. You can always take more of something, you can never take less. As you increase the dose, expect the high to get stronger. It can mimic a potent high-THC marijuana high.
Poll: We asked the cannabis community about delta-8 effects
CBD Oracle conducted a survey of 114 experienced delta-8 users and asked them to compare the intensity of delta-8 versus delta-9 and include brief statements on their overall experience with delta-8 products. Some love delta-8, while others are less convinced.
Below are some of the statements we received from experienced delta-8 users:
“It was just like smoking normal weed.”
“Milder high but still got me stoned.”
“Less anxiety and fast heartbeat.”
“Took the edge off the pain.”
“Makes me feel more relaxed.”
“Delta 8 is like diet cannabis. I prefer delta 9 but it produces a milder high so you don’t feel so couch locked.”
“Not anywhere near as potent, at least in terms of effect.”
“I didn’t like it. It had a chemical flavor smell. It sure wasn’t a natural aroma from cannabis.”
“Delta-8 for me is a cool buzz without being high. It’s a slow rising peak that slowly subsides as it decreases. It helps throughout the day especially when you don’t feel like getting high.”
“CBD doesn’t work for my pain and delta-9 makes me a little sketchy, but delta-8 has been working fine.”
“Delta-8 helped me sleep and feel more refreshed in the morning. It also really relaxes me and makes me worry free. No paranoia or anxiety. Other than the minor side effects, it helped me with my anxiety and depression. I recommend it for those who haven’t tried it.”
“I got it in edible form, and found it tasted better and was a nice change from typical delta-9 thc edibles. It didn’t hit me as hard but I still got most of the benefits without the anxiety-inducing high.”
“I don’t have as harsh of a high which is nice when I just want the pain to go away throughout the day.”
“Pretty comparable [to delta-9] but had to take a larger dosage.”
“Delta 8 is a much mellower high. It kind of reminds of hash but less intense. It’s good for when wanting to get a little high and still be able to socialize and do daily activities.”
“The experience was good. I tried it when I traveled from my medicinal state to FL. The effects only lasted about a half hour, so more was needed. Almost like a pack of cigarettes. I wouldn’t want to carry around a pack and inhale more smoke.”
“It’s OK but nothing beats regular ol thc.”
“Milder high with no side effects. Gummies seem to energize regardless of type.”
“It makes me feel noticeably more anxious and paranoid and doesn’t provide me with as much relief of stress or pain. However, it does make me feel more sleepy so I can say it helps for insomnia. I also noticed more dry mouth and eyes as a result.”
“It helps with my pain management I am an amputee with multiple forms of arthritis and lupus.”
“Delta-8 was felt more in my body than my head. I felt very comfortable sitting down, and did not feel like moving too much. Delta-9 products allow for a different range of effects. It’s not always just a “stuck on the couch” high.”
“I took delta-8 gummies before watching a movie in theaters. It definitely enhanced the experience to say the least. I got a full body high and felt more sensitive to the rumbling of the speakers and the sound in the theater. I had tried a few sour skittles before but didn’t feel much so I ate the entire bag of gummies this time and had a much better experience. I really enjoyed the feeling and the effects lasted just as long if not longer than smoking marijuana.”
“No side effects at all. It was smooth.”
As you can see, each user’s experience with delta-8 is totally different and not overly comparable, which is why describing a delta-8 high is so difficult. Most articles out there simply generalize delta-8’s effects without taking into account dosage, physiological makeup, or tolerance level.
However, there are two distinct commonalities. The first is delta-8 THC causes much milder physical or mental sensations (often likened to a “buzz”) without many of the side effects associated with delta-9 THC. The second is delta-8 doses result in physical or mental benefits such as pain relief and sleep.
How much delta-8 will get you high?
How much delta-8 THC you need to consume relies heavily on your tolerance. If you’re a frequent smoker, your tolerance is much higher than a beginner.
High Tolerance: For example, a 50-100mg delta-8 edible is a decent starting point for seasoned users with a high tolerance. Likewise, smoking two delta-8 joints is enough to induce a significant euphoric high.
Low Tolerance: If you have a low tolerance to delta-8, it’s recommended that you start with 10mg delta-8 and work your way up from there. If the buzz is too mild, try 15mg or 20mg but go no higher than that unless you want an uncomfortable experience.
How long does a delta-8 high last?
Your tolerance and the method of consumption play a big role in how long a delta-8 high lasts.
In our experience, a high from delta-8 edibles lasts the longest at 1-3 hours, sometimes longer depending on the dose.
On the other hand, a high from delta-8 flower lasts the shortest amount of time at below an hour. Delta-8 cartridges fall somewhere in the middle of edibles and flower and could last anywhere between 1-2 hours, particularly if you take frequent hits. Some less potent flower products offer only 15 minutes of brief euphoria.
Any negative side effects you may experience with delta-8?
I’ve been using delta-8 for a while now and there are some negative side effects, but not quite as intense or alarming as delta-9.
Side effects of delta-8 THC can include:
Slow or increased heart rate
Red and puffy eyes
Some delta-8 cartridges tend to give you migraines that may even linger for a week. Not everybody has had this experience but it was true in our case as well as some users on Reddit.
In comparison, delta-8 gummies tend to give you a dry mouth (but typically not a headache), especially when waking up the next morning after a session. If you overdo the dosing, expect panic attacks similar to consuming too much delta-9.
How would you compare the feeling to a delta-9 THC high?
The feelings and sensations you get from a delta-8 high are similar but less intense than a delta-9 THC high.
Delta-8 flower with CBD and CBG is more likely to reduce paranoia, fear, and anxiety commonly associated with high-THC marijuana.
Why? Because CBD and CBG could help reduce a delta-8 high by preventing it from fully binding to your cannabinoid receptors. The mixing of cannabinoids can provide some really nice pain relief, anti-inflammatory, and sleep-promoting benefits too.
However, a delta-8 high isn’t too different from a delta-9 high when consuming edibles, not in my experience anyway. You experience similar euphoric effects with quite significant and prolonged mental impairment.
On the other hand, delta-8 flower offers a slightly milder sensation than delta-9 flower and doesn’t last quite as long. Delta-8 sativa strains are far more energizing, while delta-8 indica strains are very relaxing without causing the dreaded couch-lock.
How does delta-8 THC compare to CBD?
Comparing delta-8 and CBD is like comparing chalk and cheese. Delta-8 is intoxicating and induces a euphoric high, while CBD is non-intoxicating and doesn’t cause a high.
Why? Delta-8 and CBD have totally different molecular structures and interact with different receptors in your body, also causing a number of opposing effects.
I find the effects of CBD benefit my body, whereas delta-8 is definitely better for my mind. I also trust CBD products more than delta-8, especially regular CBD flower instead of sprayed delta-8 flower.
CBD flower is perfectly natural. Delta-8 flower is CBD hemp flower sprayed with a delta-8 THC distillate. The aesthetic of some delta-8 flower is enough to turn the stomach. If sprayed unevenly, you get globs of distillate discoloring portions of each nug.
Which products give you the most potent delta-8 high?
Many suggest delta-8 distillates (in vapes) and dabs produce the strongest high. However, contrary to common belief, delta-8 gummies induce the most potent high out of all the product types we’ve tried.
When we vape delta-8 distillates, the high feels intense and the effects come on pretty quickly but only for a short period, which is the same for delta-8 dabs. Neither of them gave us the same prolonged intensity as delta-8 gummies.
However, what’s weird is almost all delta-8 products are derived from a delta-8 distillate, so why the difference? Well, it’s all to do with how it goes into your body.
When you vape or dab, delta-8 isn’t metabolized by your liver. It goes directly into the bloodstream via your lung’s air sacs, resulting in a quick and efficient euphoric high.
When you eat delta-8 gummies, it’s metabolized by your liver, which delays the onset of effects. If you eat enough gummies, the quantity of delta-8 THC flowing through your body gradually rises. As it accumulates, the high gets stronger for much longer than vapes and dabs.
Do delta-8 THC gummies get you high?
Yes, in our experience, delta-8 THC gummies offer a potent and long-lasting euphoric high. In fact, it’s one of the most potent delta-8 products out there. A potent delta-8 edible high lasts anywhere between 3-6 hours.
Does delta-8 THC flower get you high?
Yes. Delta-8 THC flower does get you high. A high from smoking delta-8 flower or preroll is shorter and less intense than delta-8 edibles. It’s a decent option for all users regardless of experience or tolerance. Vaping delta-8 flower, on the other hand, is slightly more intense and only suitable for more seasoned users.
In my opinion, Hometown Hero is the current king of delta-8. The company is also the priciest but in terms of purity, potency, and professional packaging, there’s none better.
Botany Farms also has some of the most beautiful flower. I’ve tried its CBD, CBG, and delta-8 buds and all of them are spectacular. Getting a canister of its flower is truly an experience.
Plain Jane has the best delta-8 THC cartridges. They’re smooth and reasonably easy on the throat when you take a hit. The company’s delta-8 flower also has additional CBG and is a phenomenal sativa option.
Is the quick rise of delta-8 products a concern?
Anytime a product surges in popularity, companies start popping up to make a quick profit. This is concerning to me. Since delta-8 THC is often sold without third-party testing or published COAs, some consumers are buying products without any clue of what’s inside them.
At CBD Oracle, we spend hours researching lab results and COAs. A shocking number of companies forgo publishing any testing or analysis documentation, while others fail to test for solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals. Some of the most brazen companies even post COAs with higher than average levels of mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium (though this is pretty rare).
Then you have Hometown Hero, a legitimate delta-8 and CBD vendor. The company puts other, less credible brands to shame by proudly publishing its COA documentation showing clean testing results across the board. All COAs are placed on each product page for consumer reference. This is what all companies should strive for. Openness, honesty, and transparency.
Is delta-8 as good for beginners as many say it is?
Yes, delta-8 is marketed as a decent cannabinoid for beginner users looking to experience a THC high without intense effects. Delta-8’s subtle but still noticeable mental and physical sensations are less intense than delta-9 and won’t cause significant side effects.
Delta-8 is also very accessible. Since delta-8 is thought to be federally legal, beginners getting into cannabis in a US state with strict THC laws can enjoy a “legal high”, for lack of a better phrase. They also won’t need to go out and find a shady dealer. It’s as simple as ordering online from a legitimate delta-8 vendor.
Delta-8 gets you high, but at what cost?
If the basic question you have here is, “will delta-8 get me high?”, I hope you now see the easy answer is “yes.” However, the more convoluted answer is, “yes, but at what cost?”
Delta-8 is still in its infancy as a product and craze. I don’t believe all the kinks are being worked out. Product impurity and contamination and the lack of regulatory oversight forcing third-party product testing leaves me unwilling to endorse delta-8 fully. We truly don’t know what delta-8 THC can possibly do for us.
Stay close to the big name brands, research each company, take your time looking at their lab results, and then make your decision. Spend more for cleaner products. Your mind and body will thank you.